Scripta Manent

When one reads the cover flap of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, published in 1963, perhaps she can imagine an alternate universe in which Knopf’s words then equate to prescience now; in which the cover flap of 1963, read in 2010, is old news.

“It is with a feeling of pride that we are publishing this rather difficult but great and distinguished novel. As Jorge Amado, the author of Gabriela, says in the introduction which he wrote especially for this edition: ‘The English-speaking public will make the acquaintance of one of the greatest books our literature has produced…brutal, tender, cordial, savage, vast as Brazil itself, the image of Brazil drawn by a writer with a consummate mastery of his craft.’ […] Guimarães Rosa’s work has had tremendous impact in Brazil because, in writing of the drama of his people and the land, he gave new forms to the language. His work is being published in France, by Editions du Seuil and Albin Michel, and in Germany by Kiepenheuer & Witsch—all the leading houses.

Guimarães Rosa is a distinguished and important writer.”[1]

[1] From the book flap of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, by João Guimarães Rosa (Knopf, 1963)


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